01/17/2014 5:20PM

Prairie Meadows boosts some stakes purses


ALTOONA, Iowa – Under the direction of new racing secretary Pat Pope, Prairie Meadows has raised the purses on a number of its stakes to $75,000 in an effort to attract more participants.

The Goldfinch Stakes, an open six-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies on April 26, and the Golden Circle Stakes, offering the same conditions for colts and geldings on May 2, have both had their purses boosted from $60,000 to $75,000 this year. Seven other stakes have had similar increases, including a quartet of prep race for the Iowa Festival of Racing: The Prairie Express, the Jim Rasmussen Memorial, the Panthers, and the Prairie Mile.

The Mamie Eisenhower and John Wayne, a pair of $70,000 sprints for older Iowa-breds, get the statebred stakes program underway on May 9-10. More than $1 million in purses will be available in Iowa-breds stakes during the meet.

The Iowa Festival of Racing, contested on June 27-28, will again be the meet’s focal point. The six-race festival includes a trio of Grade 3 stakes events, The $200,000 Iowa Oaks, $250,000 Iowa Derby and the track’s signature event, the $300,000 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap, all of which are scheduled for June 28.

Iowa Classic night, comprised of seven races restricted to Iowa-breds, serves up well over $500,000 in total purses and will be held on Aug. 2.

The Prairie Meadows meet runs from April 18 to Aug. 9. Racing will be held Thursday to Saturday evenings and on Sunday afternoons. The track’s Quarter Horse meet, which concludes with the Bank of America Challenge Championships, will run from Aug. 16 through Oct. 18